Last Updated on February 2, 2023
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has removed two Republican Senators who challenged his leadership bid from a key Senate committee. 10 Republicans unsuccessfully challenged McConnell for Senate Minority Leader this past November.
In response to the challenge, McConnell booted Senators Rick Scott (R-FL) and Mike Lee (R-UT) from the Senate Commerce Committee on Tuesday. The key panel is responsible for overseeing issues related to interstate commerce, science and technology policy.
Scott was highly critical of McConnell in a statement to the New York Post, stating that the move was “personal” and detrimental to the wants and needs of the GOP electorate. “This is what happens when you challenge leadership,” the Florida Senator said. “It was McConnell’s decision to remove someone who has actually run businesses and ran the third-largest state from a committee I’ve served on for four years. You’ll have to ask him why,” he added.
Scott was the chosen candidate for the unsuccessful challenge to McConnell’s leadership in November. The known list of GOP Senators who voted against McConnell incudes:
Josh Hawley (MO)
Ted Cruz (TX)
Marco Rubio (FL)
Ron Johnson (WI)
Lindsey Graham (SC)
Mike Braun (IN)
Rand Paul (KY)
Mike Lee (UT)
Rick Scott (FL)
The longtime GOP Senate Leader comfortably fended off the challenge, winning by a vote of 37-10 with one member voting present. “I’m not going anywhere,” McConnell told reporters while giving a thumbs-up after emerging from the closed-door vote.
McConnell stated that there would be no hard feelings after the challenge in a statement shortly after the vote. “I’m not in any way offended by having an opponent or having a few votes in opposition,” he said after his re-election. “I’m pretty proud of 37 to 10.”
According to a report The Hill, McConnell will appoint first-term Senators Ted Budd (R-NC), Eric Schmitt (R-MO) and J.D. Vance (R-OH) to the Commerce Committee in place of Scott, Lee and Ron Johnson (R-WI). Johnson is leaving the panel for a seat on the Senate Finance Committee